Tuesday, September 23, 2008


I had a pretty good system for depositing my checks from the office. Each Friday I'd gather the week's checks, add up the total, and put them in an ATM deposit envelope. On my way home, I'd stroll past the bank and put them in the ATM-- a process which took maybe 30 seconds. This was faster than waiting in line for a teller, and, besides, the tellers are usually closed by the time I leave the office.

Then a few weeks ago I went to the ATM as usual, but found it had been replaced with a shiny new different-looking ATM. A plaque affixed the the front read "NOW - DEPOSITS ARE EASIER THAN EVER BEFORE!"

Now if there's one thing I hate, it's when corporations lie to me, trying to convince me that something they've changed for their own benefit was actually changed for my benefit. For example, a few years ago most of the single-serving yogurt producers downsized from eight ounces to six. One company made their containers proportionately smaller, indicating on the package "New More Convenient Size!". Another kept the original size packaging, but added the enthusiastic phrase "Now With Room For Mix-Ins!" This stuff enrages me.

So you know where this is going. The new system for depositing checks at the ATM requires you to put the checks into the machine one at a time, allow the machine to scan them, confirm the amount of the check, and then request permission to put in the next check. The process takes, roughly, 25 seconds per check. So even if I have only 20 checks to put in (a very slow week), I'm standing in front of the ATM pushing buttons for nearly 10 minutes. Meanwhile there is usually a line of exasperated people growing behind me, wondering what my problem is. I sometimes try to explain.

One time, just after teller-closing-time, an employee in the bank saw me doing the ATM marathon and came out to apologize for the new "easier than ever before" system. "Why have you done this to us?", I asked plaintively. She explained that there had been a rash of fraud, in which people put in an empty deposit envelope, claimed a hefty deposit, then accused the bank of losing their money. She allowed as the new method "is really terrible for business owners." Yep.

So now instead of the old, convenient system I go over to the bank at lunchtime, wait in line, and tie up one of their tellers to deposit my checks. Progress.


Blogger Eric, AKA The Pragmatic Caregiver said...

You might look in to a system called "remote entry" - essentially a scanner that hooks to your computer and does the same thing that the ATM does - you never have to take the checks to the bank. A number of banks and credit unions offer this feature, including USAA. As a small business owner who *HATES* going to the bank, it's a lifesaver.

You can also get similar functionality through some Visa/Mastercard processors, usually called ACH Conversion.

9/23/08, 5:44 PM  
Blogger The MSILF said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9/25/08, 3:36 AM  
Blogger The MSILF said...

How many patients is your load now that you are in private practice? I always wonder this...what is a normal load for a psychiatrist? GPs have 2000 patients or so. But a lot of them they see once a year.

I mean, it's mathematically possible, I guess, for a shrink to have like 30 patients, right, if they are an hour a week? What is a private practice like?

9/25/08, 3:37 AM  

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